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Advisory on COVID-19, March 23, 2020


The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is over 350,000 globally, with approximately 100,000 recovered and over 15,000 deaths. The number of new cases continues to increase rapidly. Over 32,000 new cases were reported in the world yesterday, with the largest surges seen in USA, Italy, and Germany. 

In Canada, the numbers continue to rise quickly, with nearly 1,500 confirmed cases, 20 deaths. The Public Health Agency of Canada still states that the overall risk of infection in Canada is low, but the caseload has risen dramatically in the last week. There were 142 new cases reported on March 22, after two days of having had nearly 250 new cases per day. Continuing to slow the spread of this disease must be our current national and global priority.

Yesterday the COC and CPC made the difficult decision not to send a team to Tokyo in 2020 to minimize the risk to athletes who feel they need to continue training for July 2020 and to minimize the risk to their families and community.

Hygiene and Social Precautions:

  • All Canadians should stay at home, work from home, and exercise at home to the extent this is possible.

  • Maintain a distance of 2 metres from other people.

  • There is a preferred hierarchy for handling coughs and sneezes.

  1. Best practice is to expel respiratory droplets into disposable tissue, dispose of it safely, then immediately wash or sanitize hands.

  2. Expelling respiratory droplets onto a flexed elbow is better than no protection or an unprotected hand but it is non-optimal, as virus then remains on either the clothing or skin of the elbow depending on attire, either of which then need to be washed.

  • For protection of others – assume you are infected and behave as such.

  • For your protection – assume all others are infected and behave as such.

Updated Government of Canada Recommendations:

  • All non-essential travel outside Canada is to be avoided, the US border is closed to non-essential traffic. All Canadians currently abroad are urged to return to Canada ASAP.

  • All travellers returning from any destination outside of Canada are required to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of return (see the infographic below for specific information on what is involved in self-isolation).

Sports and Institutes:

COPSIN is fully supportive of the decision made by COC and CPC yesterday not to send athletes to the Tokyo Summer Games if they occur this year.

At this time, athletes are strongly recommended to reduce training regimens aimed at peak performance capacity at Tokyo 2020 Summer Games, and instead exercise moderately in isolation from others to maintain general health, work on stability, core strength, fundamental movement quality, and so on.

Under the guidance of their NSO coaches, athletes should seek out specific support services to manage transitions in exercise, nutrition, and health needs. The first recommended contacts for physical and mental health issues should be NSO Physicians and NSO Mental Performance / Sport Psychology providers. Athletes who do not have access to NSO health professionals can obtain advice from relevant professionals at COPSIN Institutes and Centres as listed below:

CSI Pacific

  • Chief Medical Officer Dr. Paddy McCluskey ( 250-588-6076 /

  • Nutrition Lead Susan Boegman (250-882-7001 /

  • Sport Psychology Lead (778-678-8088 /

Training and Training Environments:

  • It is currently recommended that all Canadians should stay at home and exercise at home to the extent that is possible.

  • Canadians who should be self-isolating for reasons of recent travel, any symptoms of illness, or contact with ill persons should NOT exercise in outdoor environments; they must remain at home.

  • Athletes with symptoms of illness are advised not to exercise and seek medical advice.

  • Athletes are strongly recommended to reduce training regimes for the purposes of performance gains related to Tokyo preparation.

  • For a home based program athletes should work specifically with their HPD and team Coaches for your needs.

  1. You should be exercising alone in open spaces or in your house as per current recommendations.

  2. Spacing of 2 metres between people must be maintained.

  3. Do not share equipment; each athlete must use their own equipment.

  4. If training in indoor environments, wash or disinfect your hands before and after touching any equipment or surfaces. Disinfect all touched surfaces with EPA-approved disinfectants (70% alcohol, quaternary ammonium chlorides, 4% hydrogen peroxide).

Mental Health:

Athletes are encouraged to seek out their NSO MPC/Sport Psychologist or speak with a CMO (see below for contact details) to address any mental health needs. Additional mental health support services include:

  • Mental Health Leads at their CSIs/CSCs as listed above 

  • GamePlan -

  • CCHMS as listed below

  1. Referrals can be made online, by email, or by phone:

  2. Online at

  3. By email at INFO@CCMHS-CCSMS.CA

  4. Contact Poppy DesClouds, MPC, CCMHS Care Coordinator at 613-454-1409 ext. 2090

The National Sport Partners have initiated a COVID-19 Mental Health Task Group that will coordinate sharing of best practice within the community of Mental Performance Consultants (MPCs) and Sport Psychologists. National initiatives will be driven by the Task Group, if needed, in response to NSO-driven requests and needs. For more information speak to your NSO or COPSIN MPC/Sport Psychologist or Chief Medical Officer (see below for contact details).

Nutrition for Athletes in Isolation

While athletes may find themselves in isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to keep nutrition top of mind.  Work directly with your team or institute nutritionist and follow these quick tips to ensure that you’re tailoring your nutrition to best suit your current needs and to maintain the training gains you’ve had all year long, while keeping your health optimized.

  • KEEP TO A REGULAR EATING SCHEDULE: This will prevent boredom and mindless eating, which can lead to excess unwanted (and needed) calories! Ask yourself Are You Hungry first, if YES, then PLAN what you will have, and listen to satiety cues and stop when you’re full!

  • KEEP THE FIBER UP!: If you’re moving less overall due to confined spaces, be sure to get adequate amounts of daily soluble and insoluble fiber to keep the bowels moving while also helping you to feel fuller longer; preventing the late night Netflix munchies.

  • STAY HYDRATED: Dehydration can increase levels of stress hormones, something we all don’t need more of right now.  Drink 2-4 L of fluid such as water, carbonated water, tea, coffee, milk, or small amounts of 100% juice. If your first urine after waking up is the colour of lemonade, you're doing well. Limit Alcohol!

  • REDUCE OVERALL ENERGY INTAKE: Depending on what types of at home training you’re doing, it is most likely that your total volume and intensities will be decreased from normal training loads.  It will be individual but can average a reduction from 500-1000 calories/day, mainly from starchy and simple carbohydrates (Grains and Fruits) and fats. See example below. TIP: reduce your usual plate/bowl size to reduce overall portions and limit snacking.

  • KEEP PROTEIN HIGH!: It is important to continue with your regular protein needs, as this will help to minimize any lean muscle mass loss during reduced strength training. Focus on high quality proteins: Poultry, meat, fish (canned or dried!), eggs, dairy (and lactose free dairy), soy (edamame), and quinoa (good sub when there is no rice!). 

  • CONTINUE WITH YOUR REGULAR NUTRITION SUPPLEMENTATION PROTOCOL: This means if you were taking for ex. iron, Vitamin D, B12 etc. for clinical deficiencies, DONT FORGET TO CONTINUE THEM!

Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) Update:

  • The CCES has significantly reduced operations, testing only where necessary and possible. (Read our updated advisory note here:

  • CCES are following guidance from public health officials and any decision to test is being taken with full consideration for the health of athletes, sample collection personnel and public health.

  • During this time athletes are still subject to the CADP.

  • Athletes who are part of the CCES’ or their international federation’s Registered Testing Pool should complete their whereabouts as best they can before the deadlines.

  • Athletes are reminded to verify the status of medications using the Global DRO ( and to submit an application for a Therapeutic Use Exemption if prescribed a prohibited substance.

  • The CCES’ athlete services team are also available to provide support for online learning.

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